Filia was in the middle of her prayer for the late king of Seyruun when Zelas appeared, walking down the temple's long center hallway where everyone had gathered to pay their respects. Xellos had been making faces at Filia in the front row, trying to get her to lose her concentration and laugh in front of everyone. Lina and Gourry were tasked with the chore of sitting left and right from Xellos to make sure he stayed in his seat and didn't cause any major trouble. With her eyes trained on Zelas with worry, Filia continued reciting her prayers on automatic, while the monster lord walked over to Philionel, who was sitting with his daughters. She whispered something in his ear, which caused the soon to become king crowned prince to jump.
All the attendees of the service gasped as Filia paused her prayers in shock. The golden dragon tried to pick up where she left off but found herself unable to do so. To try to save face as much as possible, given that her worries about what Zelas had set into motion were making her mind go blank, Filia finished off her prayers with the simple and somewhat generic ending of, "may you rest in peace, we shall always honor your memory."
As soon as Filia was done, Philionel didn't waste a single second in making his way to the front of the assembly and beginning a speech of his own, which turned out to be very short. "This unjust enemy that is upon us will not be allowed to destroy our precious world. I'm sure my father would be proud to know that our farewells to him have come accompanied with the determined declaration that victory will be ours!"
Zelas blinked, her face becoming more perplexed with every word that Phil spoke. "That's not right..." She shook her head in disappointment.
"Lord Beast Master?" Xellos inquired in confusion. "Why does Phil sound all excited instead of terribly offended?"
"I don't know," Zelas' expression turned sour. "I was trying to be rude and improper by speaking of the upcoming battle in an interruption of his mourning, but it looks like he's simply too glad that the issue is being addressed to take note of the timing. It doesn't even look like the zombies can bother him now. Such random volatile creatures the humans are."
"Does that mean that the plan you were working on is ready?" Lina inquired urgently.
"Yes," Zelas informed.
"By the way," Philionel added at the end of his speech of heroism, "we're surrounded by zombies, please don't panic, we'll fight them off and continue the service later."
"Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!" Naga let out her battle cry, "those zombies won't know what hit them!"
"Let them handle things here, gather around my pawns, for my plan of attack some fusion magic will be needed." Zelas teleported Xellos and Filia away without giving them a chance to react.
xoxox xox xoxox
They were on a mountain top and there were gears, gears and more gears. The gears were made of shiny silvery metal in many different sizes. Some were round, others were oval shaped and some were, strangely enough, squares and triangles. The non-rounded gears flipped from one side to the next, fitting into the shapes around them as they spun in continuous motions. The mountain of gears all seemed to power a strange diamond-like jewel at the top of the contraption. It was on top of a rod protuberant above the multitude of gears. Yet it was not really a diamond, it was something much more magical, a carefully crafted artificial gem. The fine jewel had silvery sparks constantly surrounding it and odd black swirls within it.
"Oh, my stomach," Filia complained as she tried to steady herself.
"Lord Beast Master," Xellos addressed the monster lord with curiosity. "You said you needed fusion magic for this to work." He wondered if he was there to receive his monster power and provide it or to make Filia cooperate. Then Xellos noticed the approaching person who came into view from the other side of the mountain of constantly spinning gears that were making Filia dizzier than she already was. "Milgazia?"
"You can't expect one golden dragon to be enough to provide the lesser half of fusion magic if I'm providing the more important one, so there's two," Zelas calmly stated.
By then Filia had fought with her sickness enough to compose herself somewhat. "What exactly is the plan?" She asked as calmly and neutrally as possible.
"This," Zelas pointed to the device of many gears. "It is the product of much research; Celo has been constantly working on it in secret. With the beam of chaotic light this device will produce fueled by fusion magic, power will be borrowed from the Sea of Chaos and brought to the world. The world will then absorb that chaos and push back the cycle of the Stillness."
"Is that the truth?" Filia asked with great suspicion and uneasiness, while Xellos stood around grinning constantly as he often did.
"I believe it is," Milgazia stated, which took Filia by surprise, though his following explanation justified his theory. "The latest part of the cycle of the Stillness involves the Void. At this point the monsters are also being adversely affected. If the cycle is turned back by empowering the world with chaos, it may be reverted to its previous stage of Lamentation. At that point, although the living creatures of the world that have physical bodies will still be affected as the cycle tries to move forward again, the monsters will be able to recover."
"But that's..." Filia looked back and forth between the quiet Zelas and the serious Milgazia. She wasn't even sure how to phrase her concerns, but she shouldn't have to, it should be obvious.
"A dangerous gamble," Milgazia admitted. "But right now the Stillness is a bigger threat than even the monsters. This must be done; we'll have to deal with the consequences as they come. Besides, if the planet is left as it is, it will die." When it came down to it, it was the difference between a dying planet and a suffering planet. At least a suffering planet still had hope.
"Eternal torture is best," Zelas chirped cheerfully. "Death is far too peaceful and calm, not chaotic."
Filia let out a tired breath, everything was terribly stressful lately. "How is Val?"
"Having fun getting into mischief," Zelas grinned.
Filia had a feeling that she would have both Xellos and Val to drive her insane in the future, but she supposed she would learn to deal with it. Besides, she had educated Val the best she could along with his aunts and uncles during his first few weeks of life, so maybe those lessons would stay with him and he wouldn't turn out to be too mischievous... hopefully. "Alright, let's do this."
"Finally getting down to business? It's about time," Zelas replied with a very Zelas-like comment. "Xellos, I have a spell for you to cast." Zelas materialized a scroll out of the astral side and handed it to Xellos. "This device is powered by a large amount of fusion magic; it is its fuel in a sense. However, what activates it and allows it to call the power of the Sea of Chaos is the force that pushes and pulls fate until it aligns with destiny. Chance, the collective conscious, the force that unknown even to themselves, humans have a natural talent to influence."
The spell turned complex towards the end which was why Zelas choose to have Xellos perform it instead of getting Lina, who was originally human, to do it. In theory, since Xellos was currently a human, he should be able to handle the spell effectively as he had already learned to control his energy as a human since the time when he took magic lessons from Lina. Aside from that, his knowledge of many years as Beast Master's favorite spy would help him better understand the spell.
Xellos examined the scroll, reading over it several times. The last few lines were written in an ancient language that roughly translated into something along the lines of 'pure wild unknown disorder image; powerful motion force, fulfill unexpected.' "I'm ready whenever the stupid dragons are," Xellos grinned mockingly.
Without another word everyone got into position with Zelas standing in the middle in front of the rod culminating in the enchanted diamonds. Milgazia and Filia stood left and right of her ready to cast their part of the fusion magic, allowing the machine to absorb it. Xellos stood completing the square around the rod at the center of the machine across from Zelas, next to the golden dragons. Then the magic began. First Zelas, Filia and Milgazia powered the machine, making the gears spin faster noisily. The beam of light that came from the magical diamond reached beyond the skies further than the eye could see in a mix of gold and black, attempting to establish a sort of connection with the Sea of Chaos in order to call forth its power.
To prevent the world from being absorbed into the Sea of Chaos and created anew, the power would be channeled through the stream of chance with the spell Xellos began to cast. "Between chaos and perceived order, commanding the path beyond borders, with ideas coming closer in distance, shaping illusions into existence, the luck that knows no master, spins towards freedom faster. Endless sea of possibilities, unlock the true abilities, of a world made of your essence, let us see your luminescence! Incorruptus indomitus ignotus incompositus imago, imperiosus impulsum impetus impleo improviso! Chaotic Chance!"
The flow of energy on the golden and black beam of light that went from the diamond to the sky changed direction instead receiving energy of black, silver and gold that came from beyond the sky and towards the world. "That is enough," Zelas announced and the fusion magic spell casters ceased their efforts.
Xellos used the control granted to him by the spell to push the power borrowed from the Sea of Chaos itself into the machine of many gears, which in turn pushed it towards the planet. The gears started spinning nonsensically, sometimes in the opposite motions that the laws of physics dictated they should spin in. The motions turned more rapid and ever changing and Xellos was surrounded by a golden light with black electricity and silver sparks all over him. This was too much...
"Xellos!" Filia tried to approach him and cast her healing magic, but it had no effect as her energy was absorbed by the energy of the Sea of Chaos before it could reach Xellos.
Danger, there was danger, Zelas could sense it as if the machine was about to blow up, but Xellos couldn't move from his position. If he didn't maintain the spell, the world would reset itself, being created anew, and the Stillness would still be around. It would probably keep its memories too, while the living creatures of the world, monsters and dragons included, forgot everything and live their lives anew. They couldn't allow that. Now that the Stillness had already entered the world, even if the world was recreated, it would hold on to it and stay. With its preserved memories the Stillness would have a vast strategic advantage. Zelas refused to lose, any creature that picked a fight with her, even if it was as powerful as the Stillness, had to be destroyed.
Beast Master retreated into the astral side and teleported away, straining her energy to actually reappear in the right place, a safe distance away. She watched the beam of light that came from beyond the skies from afar. She looked at the ground below as the earth itself glowed in random colors. This was definitely too much. The power of the Sea of Chaos was much greater than she had expected. Even if she took precautions and stopped powering the machine when she and the golden dragons still had more to give, even this relatively small amount of energy that was borrowed from the Sea of Chaos was impressive beyond anything Zelas had ever seen.
At the area near the machine of many gears, the mechanisms were overloading and the gears were falling apart. "Filia, we need to retreat!" Milgazia called out urgently as he transformed into a dragon and took flight. He looked back, realizing that Filia wasn't following him. "Filia, get out of there!"
"Go ahead, I'll be right there!" Filia called out in response. She was lying, she planned to stay with Xellos and it was obvious she had no intentions of moving.
Before Milgazia could make it back to Filia and drag her away to safety, the machine of many gears exploded in a bright light, its components disintegrating into silver dust. An orb of light formed over the area, the aftershock of its energy pushing Milgazia back strongly.
When the light finally cleared, a heavy feeling of chaotic energy was left in the air. The earth had ceased its rainbow glow and the land was very much revived. Zelas crossed her arms and huffed. "It wasn't supposed to go this far." The grass, the trees, the land's produce, it was coming back as if it was the beginning of a very fruitful spring. All of this had really thrown off the season with an early chilly winter and now an early spring. The planet was revitalized. "How annoying," Zelas growled.
Beast Master teleported towards were Xellos and Filia lay in a bloody mess in the area where the machine used to be. "Xellos..." He was still alive, but just barely. His hair had changed to white and the injuries of his human body appeared to be beyond repair. There was only one way to preserve him alive now. Zelas was surrounded by black light as she activated the power of the black cone gem on her necklace. She called Xellos soul back into the black jewel, leaving behind the broken shell of his human body. He would still need a physical body as a shield later when the final battle against the Stillness took place, but she could change him when the time came. For the time being, Xellos had to be healed by his monster energy. His essence felt as if it would dissolve, he would need the extra power to stay whole.
Milgazia landed near by and transformed back into his human form. "Filia's injuries are-"
"Your problem," Zelas interrupted. "She may be a traitor in the eyes of many golden dragons, but you're not one to abandon a fellow dragon in need, are you? Not that I care, she has already done her part. If you save her or not, that is your choice. My business here is finished for the time being, farewell." Zelas teleported away, back to Wolf Pack Island to take in the situation, come up with a new strategy, rest, recover and attempt to nurse her general back to health.
"Of course I can't abandon her..." Milgazia muttered under his breath as he casted his most powerful healing spells on Filia. She might have been regarded as a traitor by most dragons and even members of his own clan might disapprove of his actions, but he couldn't let her die. Filia had done more for the golden dragon race than she herself might realize. Years ago, when the ancient dragons were driven to extinction, Milgazia did not participate in that unfair battle. However, he could not stop it, as he was going through a critical battle with his own clan inside the barrier.
Back then, Milgazia moved carefully, having only recently assumed leadership of his clan due to the previous leader falling in battle. He was a thousand years younger and less experienced, but he was very wise and skilled. It was a tragic time of disorder and anarchy among the dragons, making Milgazia's new position as elder difficult to assimilate. He did his best and gained great respect because of it, yet he always wished he could do more. Later traveling with a human friend was also a big eye opener for him. Milgazia was patient, diplomatic, serious, quiet, strong and calculating, but sometimes being a little rash and energetic could yield better results than clinging to caution as strongly as he often did. He learned from humans that one could not put things off for later for too long or the opportunity to do them would be lost.
Filia, who was not even yet born until around five hundred years after the time of the War of the Monster's Fall and was in no way to blame for the past, was the one to try to make up for it. She was the one protecting and raising Val. Although Milgazia was distrusting of the monsters and wasn't particularly happy about Filia's choices, he could respect them and he could respect her efforts to atone in the name of the golden dragons. If anyone wanted to criticize him for choosing to save Filia's life, let them. He would do what he felt was the right thing regardless of what anyone said.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Beast Master might have overdone it a little..." A red haired monster noted as he witnessed the changes on the planet's condition from the outskirts of a village far from the peninsula.
"At least the undead stopped attacking," a girl with black pigtails and priestess-like clothing observed.
"I should report to Beast Master now," Zenki decided.
"This time the seal of my ancestor was broken permanently," Chiaki recalled with a hint of nostalgia. "I know I said you could go where you wanted before and I meant it, but this time, you'd have no reason to return. Are you going to spend all your time serving Beast Master now?"
"I have a lot to catch up on. Besides, there's no reason for me to be here." Zenki walked a few steps away from her, not looking back, then turned around with a grin. "Although I might come back... if I feel like it." He faded away to the astral side.
Left standing on a small hill with her village a short distance away, safe from danger for now, Chiaki smiled. "See you later, Zenki..."
xoxox xox xoxox
The scent of tea was in the air when Filia woke up several days later. She sat up slowly on the bed and examined the unfamiliar setting she was in. It was some sort of cabin with only the very basic of furniture as if it had gone without inhabitants for some time before her arrival. As for said arrival, she couldn't remember it at all. She looked down at her clothing with curiosity. She was wearing a pale aqua color simple dress that began at her shoulders and ended below her knees. It had pale green embroidery around the neckline that hugged the shoulders, the short puffy sleeves that rested above her elbows and the bottom of the skirt.
Filia didn't remember owning such a dress and the design reminded her of the clothing of the elves. She tried to get out of bed, but felt a rush of tired dizziness overtake her and sat back down. She didn't know how she got there or why she was there, but the atmosphere had a calm and familiar quality to it that helped her remain relatively calm. "Hello?" She called out unsure, "is anyone here?"
"I think I heard the boss!" A voice very much like that of Jillas was heard from outside the bedroom. Soon the fox beastman appeared at the door with a relieved smile upon his face. "She's awake!" He cheered.
Gravos soon joined in, entering the room sharing Jillas' relief. There was also someone else with them. It was a little boy with the appearance of a one year old human toddler, the speech capability of a ten year old human and speed and agility well beyond even a fully grown man. The little boy had teal hair, golden eyes and pointy elf-like ears. "Mommy!" Val ran to his mother and hugged her happily. "I'm really glad you're awake!"
"Val?" Filia stared at the child in her arms in disbelief. Her shock was initially interpreted by Jillas and Gravos as being taken by surprise to see Val in his human-like form for the first time. He no longer had the black horn on his head as when he was Valgarv and his hair was less spiky as it originally was. He was a not a combination of monster and dragon, but a pure ancient dragon. Filia gently hugged her son and caressed his hair. She was wearing a golden amethyst ring that she didn't remember owning. With a meaningful look in her eyes that indicated that she was fighting to keep her composure for Val's sake, Filia gently lifted her eyes from Val to Jillas and Gravos. "When did Val hatch? For how long was I asleep?"
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 122: Awakening! Forgotten But Not Gone
A heavy silence hung in the air in the place that was as of yet unknown to Filia. Jillas and Gravos were taken by complete surprise. It looked like Filia was missing more than just her most recent memories if she didn't remember Val hatching. He was still a baby, still tiny in dragon form, though dragons were exceptionally smart and learned to communicate at a very young age.
Before her unusual family could provide Filia with any answers, she spotted a blond man peeking into the room from the open doorway as if not wanting to interrupt. Noticing he had been seen, Milgazia let himself in with a cup full of tea. "This tea is specially made for dragons, it will help you recover." He handed the cup to the surprised Filia.
"Milgazia?" Filia questioned unsure in a quiet tone. By then Val had crawled into the bed next to Filia and fallen asleep with his mother's gentle touch on his hair.
"I think she has amnesia," Gravos shared his theory.
"What's the last thing you remember boss?" Jillas inquired with concern.
"I was at the shop and Val was still an egg... It's blurry, but that's my most recent memory, just another day at the shop." Filia's voice was rising in tension, though she kept the volume low so as to not wake Val. "What happened? Was I in some kind of accident?"
Silence reigned in the room along with heavy discomfort and uneasiness. Finally, while Jillas and Gravos tried to figure out how to handle Filia's amnesia, Milgazia took hold of the situation. "Drink your tea and if you feel well enough to get up, join us at the living room. This explanation may be a long one, but don't worry, you and your family are safe here."
Filia nodded slowly and drank the revitalizing warm liquid. She really, really wanted to know what was going on, but at least she was safe and her family was there with her, so that was a calming notion.
xoxox xox xoxox
Filia sat in a living room with two simple wooden seats with blue cushions on them. The cushions on the seats and backrest were fluffy and comfortable, yet all she could do was fidget uncomfortably. Val was sleeping in the small bedroom not too far away. Filia felt uneasy about not keeping her eyes constantly on him at first, but soon reason that if he was safe while she was unconscious, he would be safe now.
"Do you remember the date or an approximate of it?" Milgazia inquired, sitting across from Filia next to Jillas; Gravos and Filia occupying the seats in front of them.
"It's July," Filia replied simply. "The beginning of July, it's a warm summer." Jillas and Gravos wondered if they should just bluntly tell Filia that the current month was December, or find a way to hint at it gently, though they couldn't think of any. Filia's next statement saved them the trouble. "I know Val wasn't due to hatch any time soon during July. It must be several months into the future. Please tell me, what month is it?"
"December," Gravos finally stated.
"That's right, it's a beautiful spring," Jillas added.
"Spring?" Filia questioned in confusion, spring wasn't supposed to come in December.
"A lot has happened," Milgazia breathed, "I'll go over the general facts of the happenings of the world, then Jillas and Gravos can answer your more personal questions." Filia nodded and listened as Milgazia narrated. "This is a difficult to believe story, but right now we are at a moment of peace," he assured before diving into the less pleasant aspects of the tale. "A terrible enemy known as the Stillness attempted to end the world by killing the planet itself, causing starvation and destroying people's will to live, consuming even the monsters. Lina Inverse and several of her traveling companions, yourself included, were involved in discovering the secrecy behind the force that assaulted the world and fighting its minions. Recently, we were able to fight back."
It was obvious that Filia had a lot of questions to ask, which was only natural. Milgazia finished his general summary of the happenings. "The planet has been revitalized by borrowing power from the Sea of Chaos and recovered significantly. For now, the danger is being held back, the enemy has retreated. You were part of the process of borrowing power from the Sea of Chaos. The power was greater than any of us expected and you were injured."
Filia took a moment to absorb all the information. "What about the others? Was anyone else hurt?" She asked with worry.
"You're always worrying about others, you have such a kind heart, boss!" Jillas exclaimed.
In a more informative way, Gravos answered the question with reassurance. "Lina and the others are fine; they're all in Seyruun right now."
"That's right; we came to keep an eye on you here. We figured it was best for you to stay here until you recovered since there are dragon doctors around," Jillas explained.
"Um... Where is here?" Filia inquired.
"Dragon's Peak in the Kataart Mountains," Milgazia replied. "This is an empty mountain cabin used when guests come to visit. You may remain here for as long as you wish."
Filia's eyes widened in shock, worry making its way to her features. "I'm in the middle of golden dragon territory? But I... I'm..." She paused, trying to calm herself. Jillas and Gravos were comfortable with their current location and Val had been kept safe while she was in a sort of coma, so it had to be okay.
"This is my clan, you are welcomed here regardless of what the others say," Milgazia firmly stated, as if he had personally made certain of it.
Filia nodded and managed to stutter a quiet "thank you..."
Frowning in worry, Jillas fidgeted as he wondered why Filia had not inquired about Xellos, then it all made sense. She didn't ask about him because she didn't remember they were married. Her relationship with him last summer wasn't the best. He would occasionally visit the Maces and Vases shop and drive her to the brink of insanity before she managed to chase him out with random property damage along the way... to her own property. The fox beastman glanced at Gravos, then looked at the ring on Filia's hand.
"Say... do you remember anything about Xellos?" Gravos curiously inquired.
"Xellos? That annoyance?" Filia huffed. Then she thought about what Milgazia mentioned. "Was he there too when we borrowed power from the Sea of Chaos?" The notion confused her as much as the thought of the world being in danger again, even after the Darkstar incident had ended. It was hard to swallow, but at least as far as her interpretation of the revelations went, they were winning. She never imagined how many losses had happened and how bad the damage had been... and it wasn't over.
"Yes," Gravos confirmed, not adding that they were as of yet not informed about his current state. All they knew was the information Milgazia had brought based on what he witnessed, which Gravos thought Filia had the right to know. "He was... injured. Zelas took him away, to heal him, I suppose." It was a theory, but it seemed likely enough to share. As for Solex, his current state was also unknown, for entirely different reasons, but Filia wouldn't know who he was anyway.
"I see," Filia wasn't one to wish serious injuries on anyone, although she often tried to inflict vengeful pain on Xellos. She assumed that, being purely astral as she thought he was, Xellos' injury couldn't be anything life threatening. In fact, he deserved it. "Well, at least maybe now he'll stay away for a while longer. I'm sure he deserves whatever injuries he got."
Gravos looked at Jillas; Jillas looked back at him, then at Milgazia, with Gravos following the motion. Milgazia slightly shook his head discretely and stood up. "Another cup of medicinal tea will be good for you right now. Jillas, Gravos, would you come help me prepare it? You know Filia's taste in tea quite well."
Jillas and Gravos quickly agreed and excused themselves following Milgazia. Filia let them go without protest, though she felt annoyed at their exit. Milgazia couldn't possibly need both Jillas and Gravos' feedback to make dragon healing tea. Besides, the first cup tasted just fine, making it obvious that he must have added some sugar, or a lot of sugar, to make it less bitter. She knew they were talking behind her back, probably discussing how to inform her of what she forgot as gently as possible. Filia tried to tell herself they meant well and she was probably better off getting the full story gently. She sighed and fingered the ring on her left hand, which had been cleaned and returned to her. She would get a full grip on her current situation soon enough, she would make certain of it.
xoxox xox xoxox
Milgazia got more of the already prepared tea and poured a new cup. The action didn't take more than a few seconds as Jillas and Gravos shifted unsure. "Do you think it's a good idea to tell her about Xellos right now? Filia didn't appear to be too fond of him." Which was perfectly fine in Milgazia's opinion, but he was determined not to meddle in Filia's life beyond a little help here and there. Her personal affairs... er... personal matters not limited to affairs, were her personal choices to make.
Jillas and Gravos silently consulted each other remembering the dangerously destructive temper tantrums Filia threw at Xellos in the past. "Bad idea," they unanimously agreed. Not only would Filia be shocked to realize she was married to the monster she could only remember feeling extreme dislike for, albeit admittedly she didn't really hate anyone, but also she might not believe it. The joke, if she assumed it was a joke, would be in bad taste and certainly not to her liking. They really didn't want to upset Filia; they wanted to make her recovery process as gentle and calm as possible... at least until Xellos returned to drive her insane. Unfortunately, she might not find his annoyance as endearing as it had become before she lost her memories.
"I agree," Milgazia stated neutrally.
"We'll talk to Val and try to make it so he doesn't give anything away," Jillas offered.
"That's a good idea and do keep an eye on him when he wakes up from his nap," Milgazia emphasized. "I might have forgiven his recent mischief, but the other golden dragons around here might not. They won't get violent about it, but they'll be upset." The reason they would hold back was mostly because of Milgazia's warning, which included politely requesting open mindedness, patience and compassion, then ending his speech with something along the lines of a very serious sounding, 'anyone who causes unneeded trouble will answer to me.' Milgazia was usually very polite, proper and not aggressive, but someone who had found himself in the middle of the War of the Monster's Fall and lived to tell the tale was not someone anyone wanted to see angry.
As for Val's mischief, it varied day by day; at least he didn't pull the same prank twice after being told not to do it. Milgazia was his preferred target recently. He had gotten a face-full of toast, butter side of course, when Val tried to initiate a food fight while having breakfast with Jillas, Gravos, Milgazia and Memphis. The previous night Val had managed to sneak into Milgazia's home and doodle on his face while he was sleeping. Which led to a pissed off looking doodle-faced Milgazia making his way to the guest cabin in his pajamas with an amused looking pajama clad Val in his arms. It didn't help that Val fell asleep on the way back which let to Milgazia quietly depositing him on his bed without even waking Jillas and Gravos and making a mental note to point out the boy's mischief to his caretakers in the morning. It was something that Milgazia would have done if he had not been interrupted by that flying piece of toast colliding with his face.
xoxox xox xoxox
Assuring Milgazia that they would take better care of Val and keep him out of trouble, Jillas and Gravos returned to Filia's side at the living room with her tea. Milgazia excused himself and went on his way, leaving Filia to privately bring up her questions to Jillas and Gravos, or at least, that's what he assumed she would do. However, things went a little differently.
After Filia was done with her tea, she made an unexpected request. "Do you mind if I take a walk by myself to clear my head?" The tea had made her feel a lot better and her previous dizziness was gone. "Then we can talk some more about what I missed, or rather, what I can't remember."
"Okay, boss," Jillas agreed. "But first, let me get you the dish Memphis delivered earlier in case you woke up today, she said it was nutritious."
"Alright," Filia agreed to having a meal before going out. She'd have to ask about who this Memphis was so she could give her thanks later.
xoxox xox xoxox
After getting some food in her stomach, Filia felt much better. Actually eating was different from being sustained with healing spells over the past few days. She would still get the needed energy, being directly transferred into her system rather than waiting for her body to process it from food, but it still felt good to replenish her nutrients in a tasty way. It fully sunk in that she was in Dragon's Peak when she caught sight of the other golden dragons in the area. There were also a few dimos dragons there as well. She felt their critical eyes on her, but no one dared to approach her, not while she was under their leader's protection.
"Filia!" A cheerful looking elf woman with pale green, near-blond long hair approached her without the cautious apprehension of the others. "Feeling better?"
"Yes..." Her apparent familiarity hinted to Filia that either she had met the elf before, or she was a friend of Milgazia who had met and befriended her family during their stay at Dragon's Peak. "I'm sorry, but my memories are... kind of missing right now. Have we met before?"
"Oh yes, I'm Memphis Linesword, we met at the wedding." The elf replied, though Filia had no idea what wedding she was talking about.
"I see," Filia would feel a little dumb, if not rude, asking whose wedding Memphis was talking about. She would never guess it was her own. Then she remembered that Memphis happened to be the name of the person who cooked for her. "You left some food for me at the cabin, didn't you? Thank you, it was delicious."
"You're welcome!" Memphis chirped, "I've been saving a portion for you every day, but you were never awake. I'm glad you actually got to eat it this time. Do you like the dress?"
"This is your dress?" Filia realized, "I thought the design reminded me of elves. Thank you for this too... Um... Did you change me?"
Memphis nodded, "I did, the clothes you had on were raggedy and soaked in blood when Milgazia brought you here. It was a big mess, for a second I thought you were dead. Milgazia drained away all his energy trying to heal you and was pretty tired afterwards. I cleaned you up and dressed you, but don't worry, I didn't let any boys peek at you."
"Oh, that's good to know, I'm very grateful," Filia spoke softly while her mind ran ahead of her full speed. Milgazia saved her life at the risk of the disapproval of his own clan. She was in Dragon's Peak with Val and her family, the world had been in grave danger and though she had been told that the enemy retreated, no one had said the mysterious enemy was defeated. All she knew was that they called it the Stillness, but she knew little else about it.
"You don't have to be so formal," Memphis encouraged. "We're all comrades of chaos after all!"
'Of chaos?' Filia quietly mused, but took it as a simple expression and nothing more. "And justice?" She added.
"That's right!" Memphis cheered.
She was still terribly confused, but at least Filia was starting to relax, so she would be ready for another round of questions with Jillas and Gravos soon.
xoxox xox xoxox
Meanwhile, Val had woken up from his nap and was having a snack with Jillas and Gravos; he really liked those cookies Milgazia had brought over recently. They tasted especially good to dragons. It was a pity that the box was almost empty.
"Val, we need to talk to you about something important," Jillas began.
With a cookie in his mouth, Val's big and innocent golden eyes silently focused on his uncles. Seeing that he was paying attention, Gravos continued. "Your mom has a bit of amnesia right now."
Val frowned, "is mommy sick? I thought she was all better now."
"She is," Gravos assured, "amnesia means she can't remember some things. It's best to let her remember at her own pace, so let's not tell her about certain things, okay?"
Val didn't fully understand, but if his uncles were telling him to keep a secret, then it had to be because it was what was best. He was a good secret keeper, he could do this. "Okay, what do I need to keep a secret?"
"Everything about your father, grandmother... er... aunt Zelas," because the monster lord thought 'granny' made her sound too old. "And everything about your brother," Jillas explained.
"When is Solex coming back?" The mention of him brought up Val's question. "It would be fun if Palou, Solex and I could all play together."
"I'm sure that will happen," Jillas smiled.
"Yes, you just need to be patient," Gravos added. Solex was rather unstable when he was taken away by Zelas while Filia was still in a coma. Apparently, Beast Master intended to try to stabilize his energy so as to not lose a minion, but could she, had she? Honestly, Jillas and Gravos were starting to worry. It was troublesome when Zelas was around, but when she wasn't around, those who knew her couldn't help it but to wonder what she was doing and what consequences it could bring.
Val nodded, "okay..."
xoxox xox xoxox
A short while later, Filia returned to the guest cabin with a basket of ingredients given to her by Memphis. She found Val entertaining himself with a sketchbook and crayons. Jillas and Gravos both held letters as they sat in the living room. "I'm back," she announced more cheerfully than before. So what if she was confused, her family and friends were alright, her son was happy and it was a lovely afternoon. She would have a long talk with Jillas and Gravos that evening and afterwards she planned to go to Seyruun to see everyone. By then she expected to be able to understand what plan of action should be taken against the Stillness and what manner of being the Stillness was. After the world was out of danger, than she could go back to her shop, or so she thought.
Filia was greeted by welcomes from Jillas, Gravos and Val. She curiously inquired about the letters they held, learning that they were from Elena and Palou, and from Naga respectively. Jillas had mentioned Elena and Palou before, though Filia held no memories about a person called Naga. She seemed to be important to Gravos, so she would like to meet her. "Why don't you take some time off and write back to them?" Filia suggested. "Memphis gave me all this food, so I thought I could make dinner for everyone. Val, would you like to help me prepare it?"
"Yes, mommy!" Val cheerfully agreed, putting away his crayons in their box neatly and closing the sketch book. He set the items in a corner of the wooden coffee table in the middle of the living room.
Filia smiled, Val was such a well behaved child who never got into any mischief, or at least that's what she thought. She had not heard anything about how Val had been playing mischievous tricks on Milgazia.
To be Continued
Slayers: Alive - Episode 123: Secret! For Us To Know
While Jillas and Gravos found some quiet spots to sit down and write letters out in the calm afternoon breeze, Filia and Val were busily making dinner. She had caught Val trying to add hot sauce to the work in progress, but luckily stopped him every time. She thought nothing of it; he was only trying to help. Some knocking was heard from the door to the small cabin and Val volunteered to go see who it was.
With Filia tending to dinner in the kitchen, Val peeked out the front window and found Milgazia in front of the closed door to the cabin. Rather than opening it, Val rushed to the little utility closet and found a bucket. He hurried out the door, towards the small well that was behind the cabin and changed to his dragon form. He picked up the bucket, which was bigger than him now and dove into the well. He fetched some water and flapped his wings wildly to get himself out of the well. He set the full bucket on the ground and changed back into an elf-like toddler.
Picking up the bucket with both hands, Val hurried back inside through the back door and peeked out the window again. It looked like Milgazia was about to assume that the cabin was empty, as he had received no answer. The older dragon turned to leave. Val hurried to open the door a little as soon as Milgazia was looking away and changing back into his dragon form; he picked up the bucket and placed it on top of the door.
"Who was at the door?" Filia called from the kitchen, seeing as Val was taking longer than expected.
Milgazia thought he heard something and looked back at the cabin. He found that the door was partially open and curiously made his way over. He looked inside and saw Val back in his elf form. The boy appeared to be contemplating something. Since the door was already partially open, Milgazia resolved to let himself in. By the law of gravity, the bucket that was precariously balanced on top of the door flipped and fell towards the area directly below it, which happened to be on a crash course with Milgazia's head. Needless to say, Milgazia was not amused.
At that very moment, Filia had arrived on the scene to see why Val wasn't answering her, and witness the event of the falling bucket of water as if it was in slow motion. Her eyes widened, her jaw dropped and she froze in place.
Milgazia removed the bucket from his head looking very much pissed off. He had been forgiving long enough; someone had to put a stop to Val's mischief. "Val," the golden dragon elder almost growled.
Val knew he was in trouble, he had never seen Milgazia look that angry. He shifted uncomfortably and looked at the floor, "yes, uncle Milgazia?"
"I'm so sorry!" Filia burst out all of a sudden, having finally found her voice.
Milgazia raised his hand in a sign of silence, indicating that he would rather handle this himself. "You've been misbehaving a lot recently and that's not good."
Before Filia could stutter out another apology, she was left in frozen silence again. Val had been misbehaving? Had not Jillas and Gravos been keeping an eye on him? Besides, Filia was missing a few months of memories, but she had apparently only actually been asleep for a few days. Had she not properly educated Val during the time she couldn't remember?
Val shifted uncomfortably some more. "I don't mean to be bad."
"What have your uncles Jillas and Gravos told you about things like this?" Milgazia reminded, still keeping a firm tone that was, Filia had to admit, kind of scary.
"They said I should not throw food at you to try to start a food fight, or sneak into your house and doodle on your face when you're sleeping, or put dog food and hot sauce into your food, or crawl under the table and tie cans to your feet, or put butter in front of your house's door so you'll slip when you come out, or put bugs in your cloak, or spray ketchup on your clothes, or put purple dye in your shampoo," Val recited.
Now that it was mentioned, Filia observed that the roots of Milgazia's hair looked more golden than the paler blond of the rest of his hair. That was probably a result of bleaching off the purple dye. Poor Filia was in absolute shock. Val was a terrible mischief maker that would make Xellos proud, though she wasn't sure why Xellos came to mind, probably because of the mention of purple hair. "I'm so terribly sorry!" Filia finally found her voice again to exclaim another mortified apology.
Having been reminded of all his most recent perils, Milgazia was too angry to hear Filia as he continued scolding Val. "So now you put a bucket on top of the door? That's bad too!"
Val pouted, his eyes becoming watery with tears. "I don't want to be bad. Tricks are supposed to be fun." At least that was what his father, aunty Zelas and uncle Fang had taught him. "You always look so serious, uncle Milgazia. I thought that this would cheer you up; I only wanted to make you happy because I think you're really cool. Are you mad at me? You don't like me anymore?"
'Don't give in... Val needs to be disciplined... Don't give in...' Milgazia chanted in his head to no avail. He couldn't do this; he'd had to be heartless not to think that, when explained in such a way, Val's mischief was kind of sweet. Val looked like he was going to cry, and really, Milgazia didn't want to see that. He knelt down to Val's eye level and gently ruffled the boy's hair. "It's okay, I'm not mad at you. It's just that I don't like pranks, but I still like you. Please don't play any more tricks on me, okay?"
"Okay," Val agreed. "Sorry I bothered you, uncle Milgazia."
"It's alright," Milgazia smiled. He then whispered something so that only Val could hear it. "You should save your tricks for your father and tell me all about it later." Milgazia was sure he would have an awesome time hearing about Xellos being terrorized by a child, it would be priceless just punishment.
Val nodded with a plotting grin and a mischievous glint in his eyes. By then Filia had calmed down significantly and no longer felt as if she was a step away from going into cardiac arrest. She was still terribly shocked at all the mischief Val had caused, but found some consolation in the fact that it was all well intended and it looked like Milgazia had forgiven him.
"You wanted this, didn't you?" Milgazia pulled out a blue yoyo from his dragon robes' pocket and gave it to Val.
"It's just like that toy I saw before, the yoyo!" Val recalled.
xoxox xox xoxox
Some time earlier, Milgazia stood on top of a mountain peak observing the dragons of his clan going about their business in the valley below. Val curiously approached. He knew that uncle Milgazia was a good person, but he was so serious it made the young ancient dragon feel uneasy. Val looked at the dragons in the valley, he got the feeling they didn't like him very much, as they tended to avoid him and generally stay away from him. He spotted a young golden dragon, only a few decades old, playing with an unusual toy. The sphere appeared to be made of wood and it spun on a string as it went up and down. That toy looked like it would be fun to play with.
"Do you like yoyos?" Milgazia's inquiry got Val out of his transfixed gaze on the spinning toy.
"Yoyo?" Val asked with curiosity and a bit of lingering shyness. "Is that what that spinning toy on the string is called, uncle Milgazia?"
"That's right," Milgazia replied. "I used to have one of those when I was little," he recalled.
"Yoyo..." Val mused aloud, "it looks like fun."
xoxox xox xoxox
"You can keep it, it's for you," Milgazia voiced.
Val's face brightened, the tears that previously threatened to fall were completely gone now. "Thank you, uncle Milgazia!" Val tackled Milgazia in a hug, then went to show his new toy to Filia. "Look mommy, uncle Milgazia gave me a present!"
Filia smiled radiantly and ruffled Val's hair. "that's a very nice yoyo."
xoxox xox xoxox
In a dark underground laboratory at Wolf Pack Island, Celo was working on a machine that was surrounded by gears. It seemed to be his favorite way to power his contraptions, even if the mechanisms were built for entirely different purposes. In the middle of the gears, which were not as many as in the machine used to call for the power of the Sea of Chaos, there was a glass orb and inside it was Solex. He had become increasingly unstable with the passing of time and he was close to falling appart.
"We're beings of chaos," Zelas spoke, while Celo occupied himself in recalibrating the magical machine. "We draw chaos towards us and it is because we absorb it that a certain amount of perceived order can exist in between. Yet the components of your chaos were only hastily placed together and should they come undone, you'll dissolved, your chaos being absorbed into the world, fusion child."
Solex, who was in his young child form, looked up at Zelas from inside the glass. "Is this really the limit of my usefulness, master Zelas? I wish to exist for much longer."
"Though your power is not much now, it was expected to grow. Yet it seems you won't last that long," Zelas voiced. "It's a pity," she admitted. "You are my minion's minion and therefore my minion. You would have been an interesting minion to have. The world was not supposed to recover to this point. I'll have to cause an extra amount of trouble to correct the miscalculation," she eyed Celo dangerously.
The monster human chimera finished tuning the machine and bowed. "I once again give you my deepest apologies, Lord Beast Master," he spoke in his usual very respectful tone of voice. "It was because of my miscalculation that a great good has been brought upon the world. I shouldn't have underestimated the amazing and unpredictable power of the Sea of Chaos. My only concern had been the world being absorbed by the vastness of the Sea of Chaos. I did not expect for it to be restored to this point."
"A terrible miscalculation indeed," Zelas glared. Though Celo was still a useful minion overall, so she had decided to keep him around, to keep him alive. Besides, it was her miscalculation too. "About Solex," she moved on to the topic at hand. "Is there a possibility to keep him alive? If he falls apart, he will be ruined, gone forever from this timeline as far as we know."
"There is a way, but it is round about and risky," Celo admitted. "This machine cannot keep him stable for too long, yet if his soul was placed into a new vessel, a stable vessel; that would be enough. However, the vessel must be similar to his peculiar nature or the soul will not be able to reside in it."
"A stable vessel..." Zelas mused. "Valgarv wasn't exactly stable, but he wasn't about to come apart either. A dragon with monster energy inside... Creating such a vessel is not a simple task. I wonder if it will be more trouble than it's worth. Then again," Zelas grinned as she further thought about it. "Xellos' pet, Filia, is quite fond of the child of fusion. She will go to great lengths to save him, no doubt about it. I heard she has been staying with Milgazia's clan lately. Xellos' pet will do the work for me and my little minion will return. Iago!"
A red monster parrot appeared out of the astral side. It was the same one who was present when Rezo was summoned before. "Yes, Lord Beast Master? Do you have a valuable treasure for me to take care of for you?"
"As if I would trust you with such a task," Zelas chuckled mockingly. "Go tell everyone to get ready. That information recovered from Rezo's old abandoned laboratory about a certain special type of jar during our earlier investigations will come in handy after all."
xoxox xox xoxox
While her minions made the needed preparations, Zelas teleported to Xellos' room and observed the shape lying on the bed among purple cushions. It was a black cone as big as a man, which used to have a few cracks on it, albeit they had faded away over the past few days. He was a monster again, but he had been damaged in a dangerous way. The spell he casted probably caused an adverse reaction because he wasn't originally a human. It was another terrible miscalculation, albeit this one was completely Zelas' own, not that she would ever admit to making a mistake.
Beast Master tried again to awaken Xellos, calling him with her energy. This time the result was much better than in previous occasions, as she actually got a reaction from him. Slowly, Xellos took on his human-like shape, his hair now purple, as he was truly a monster. He remained still on his bed, without even the simulation of a breathing rhythm, though he was very much alive. "Xellos..." there was no reply. "Xellos..." still there came no answer. "Wake up, brat boy!"
Xellos immediately sat up, as if bouncing off an imaginary spring. "I'm awake!" Strangely enough, he didn't remember going to sleep in the first place. "Lord Beast Master?"
"Well, it looks like you're alright after all," Zelas observed him critically; his energy was okay at least. "It took you long enough to recover from that little accident."
"Accident?" Xellos asked in confusion. "I was in an accident? Last thing I remember I was on my way to follow your orders and choose dare. Am I late?"
Zelas raised a suspicious eyebrow at Xellos. "That was last summer, back in July."
"You mean it's not July now?" Xellos inquired in confusion, "or even summer?" What in the world could be strong enough to knock him out? Let alone for such a long time.
"We're in the spring time, it's December now," Zelas stated somewhat exasperated. As if she didn't have enough to deal with already, now she had to add an amnesiac general priest to the list. Perhaps his pet dragon had amnesia too, since she was so close to him when the explosion happened and was also injured. That would explain why she had not showed up looking for a way to enter Wolf Pack Island and fuss about her dear husband.
Xellos blinked in confusion. He knew it was best never to question Beast Master, her word was his law. Yet he couldn't help himself and before he could stop it, his mouth ran away with him as he inquired, "spring is in December?"
"For now," Zelas replied. "A lot has happened and the world nearly ended. Yet unfortunately, it was not by my hand. Albeit I have decided I would much rather torture the world eternally or at least for as long as possible. After all, if I return it to the Sea of Chaos, it will simply be reborn all over again and it might actually turn out more peaceful the next time around. Death is too merciful, chaos is best. Either way, about the seasons, they'll probably fall back into place in a couple of years."
So the world nearly ended and he didn't remember any of this? Xellos was very disappointed. "Lord Beast Master..." There was a distinct tone of complaining displeasure in his voice.
"Alright, alright, I'll fill you in on what you missed, you don't need to whine at me like a puppy," Zelas mocked. She would tell him the story of the past few months, but she would edit certain things out and let Xellos figure them out on his own. For the time being, it was best to keep things relatively simple.
xoxox xox xoxox
The world felt as if it was at a stand still. The miraculous recovery of the land brought a great relief to those who survived, yet they could not soon forget the many losses they had all experienced, as the death toll had been frighteningly high. Yet for now, there was no immediate danger and also no immediate solution to the problem. The Stillness had retreated, hidden itself away and for the time being not even the spell that should grant access to its hideout was working. Attacking with the energy of the Sea of Chaos had been needed to weaken an otherwise impossible to beat enemy, but now that it was done, forcing it to come out for the final fight would not be easy. For the time being, everyone could only prepare, research and try to be ready for the return of the Stillness' attack. Thus the masses continued mostly living in ignorance and for those who knew the truth of the situation, they were living in uncertainty.
Filia couldn't help it but to stare at the buildings under construction as she made her way down the street in Seyruun. She had spent several more days at Dragon's Peak before finally deciding to return to her shop, albeit she wanted to visit Seyruun first. She was very grateful to Milgazia and Memphis and she let them know. Yet Filia knew that the other dragons were not comfortable with her and Val there. They had not been openly hostile, but they were generally avoidant, afraid. It would take a long time for them to become accustomed to her and Val. Filia thought it was an effort worth pursuing, but the time wasn't right.
She hoped to return to visit Dragon's Peak in the future when Val was old enough to understand the complexity of the situation enough to not feel hurt every time someone looked at him with fear. That was not how Filia wanted him to grow up, but if possible, when he was older, if he so wanted it, perhaps he could find a way to make peace. Maybe by then Milgazia would have been able to reassure his clan during a time that wasn't filled with danger and uncertainty and it would make things run much more smoothly.
"Is our town like this too?" Filia inquired in worry, finally breaking the silence that reigned supreme among her, Val, Jillas and Gravos. Being told about the state of the world was vastly different from witnessing it.
"Yes," Gravos replied with uneasiness. Filia had not yet been told she was no longer welcomed in that town. At least they were safe in Seyruun.
"I hope everyone is alright," Filia voiced. "I'm especially worried about Hanna. She won't be able to handle repairs of this magnitude at her age and she has no children to help her. Although, I suppose Manna, Anna and Sasha's families are probably taking care of her."
Jillas and Gravos remained silent for a long moment. Filia didn't remember Hanna's betrayal or her true identity as Venus. She thought of the Venus from the true yet incomplete story she was told as a whole different person. The solemn silence left Filia thinking that they were hiding something from her. Even when they told her many stories about the battles that took place, there were many details that were omitted, the details that were difficult to explain. There were no lies, but there were many blanks that led to convenient misinterpretations that sounded more logical than the full truths would have.
The quiet was interrupted by obnoxious laughter as a woman in a very revealing outfit approached them. "Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha! Over here, Gravy, everyone!"
"Gravy?" Filia questioned unsure under her breath. She turned her puzzled look towards Gravos who was... blushing? "You know this woman?"
"Naga is..." Gravos trailed off into silence, not sure about how to explain it. It was sort of a long distance relationship since Naga was constantly traveling, but they wrote to each other often.
"Epona!" Naga took both of Filia's hands in hers. "I heard about your terrible case of amnesia. Don't you worry, if you laugh with all your heart, I'm sure that the memories will start flowing back in no time! Ah! Ha ha ho ha ha!"
Filia felt her eye twitch, "My name is Filia," she pointed out through gritted teeth.
To be Continued